Try to remember the last advertisement that involved a woman. Do you remember what is this woman looked like? Was she beautiful? Is she everything you want to be?
Now, we may not notice these advertisements at first. We over look them, we don’t see the what these ads are really about. But if you look at enough of them you’ll uncover a pattern throughout all these advertisements. We as consumers are being unconsciously manipulated, sent subliminal messages about how the standard of beauty. We might even recognize that we get this idea of being thin through the media, but we still desire to be thin because we are surrounded by it everyday.
That’s exactly what advertisers want you to think. They want you to want to look as beautiful as her or desire her. It’s all about the looks these days. Well actually it’s always been that way. Skinny, beautiful models have constantly starred in advertisements promoting various products. These girls are the textbook definition of “beauty”, they are what we are suppose to look like. But the funny thing is that no one actually looks like that. The picture perfect women we see on the cover of magazines and on television are fake. They graphically altered and rebuilt to create the perfect image of a woman. The images we see are not the original model or actress. Their eyes are bigger and change color, their skin is pore-less, their lips are plump, cheek bones raised, their stomachs flattened and shaped, the list goes on and on. But what is the point in doing that to a picture? They are already beautiful, that’s how they got the gig in the first place! Is their natural beauty not enough? What do advertisers really want? Do they realize what message they are sending to our society?
Whether they realize it or not the false pictures of these ads have detrimental on young women in our society. The airbrushed bodies of models send the message that the only way to be beautiful is to stick thin. The only way to be confident and successful is to be skinny. But, that’s not true at all. And girls will still believe those messages when they are so young because it’s constantly pushed in their faces.
When you really look at the models and actresses you won’t see a real person. The face in the picture lacks real human features. They are so airbrushed they have flawless skin, which is completely unrealistic because everyone has at least freckles and pores on their face. The barbie doll looking creature on the page is completely dehumanized by the graphic designers.
I never realized all of this until I watched the most recent video from Jean Kilbourne’s series “Killing Us Softly,” which is about how women are portrayed in advertising. I never thought that they are dehumanized and made out to be something they are not. It’s kind of sick to alter someone’s body to make them look irresistible and perfect, when in fact no one living in this world is perfect. She states in her video that women strive to be flawless but ultimately fail because no one looks like the picture. not even the model herself. She is asking us to recognize that what we see isn’t really there but, still women starve themselves, use plastic surgery to “fix” their flaws, and even worse die trying to look like the women in these advertisements.
Women compare themselves to the images they see. They become unhappy with the way they look because it is not up to the standards of society. It’s sad because it’s true. Girls and young adults pride themselves on looking thin and being the weighing the least out of all their friends. Teenage girls especially are victims of the societal pressures. The young girls look up to the supermodels and actresses they see in ads. They want to look they way they look because they think they will be beautiful, happy, success, and get all the boys by looking a certain way.
The horrors the girls face in school and the peer pressure they get contributes to eating disorders and the need to modify their bodies. Young women are the most sensitive about their body image. They are the most impressionable in the teen years. I think most women can agree during that time of their life that’s when they felt the most insecure. I know I did. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to not listen to what anyone else thought about me.
But unfortunately, girls develop eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia because their mental states are distorted from the association of being thin and beautiful. Kilbourne couldn’t have said it any better: “Our popular culture seems to have the ability to make woman anywhere and everywhere feel absolutely terrible about themselves.” Of course I understand that eating disorders are a mental illness however, the mental illness has to start somewhere. These girls get the ideas in there head from the media and what they think society expects them to look like.
We, as human beings in this society, are responsible for each other. There are some evils out there trying to bring us down and manipulate our way of thinking. But we must resist those temptations to give into what should be or what we should look like. We are all beautiful in our own way. We shouldn’t let the advertisements of thin women dictate how people look at us or determine what weight we should be. You choose the way you look, no one else can make that decision for you. We need to realize that what we see in ads are not real, those people are figments of the imagination, we must fight these images and show what woman really look like.
I think the only thing we can do to change our way of thinking is to become more educated to break the stigma of what beauty currently is. We have to to join together to make the world change, it has to be an environmental change, change how people think about each other and societal standards. It’s not an impossible task. Yes, it may take sometime but we cannot let that stop us from speaking up. But, there is hope, slowly but surely we are recognizing the truth behind the ads, advertisements are starting to show what real women and men look like. You are not suppose to look like that, you are only suppose to look like YOU!